Examining What We’ve Been Taught

The basis of our faith

My dad’s been gone 30 years. I have a pair of his shoes. Sometimes I wear them.

We may inherit many things from our parents. But what of their values?

Some reject everything their parents believed. Others wear their parents’ faith like a comfortable pair of old shoes.

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Between the two extremes: a carefully examined faith

If our parents believed Jesus is the Son of God, do we believe that because they did—or because we find it supported in God’s word?

If something they believed is not Scripture-based, are we willing to go with the Bible?

The same Jesus who taught us to honor our parents also said, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me . . .” (Matthew 15:4; 10:37).

Who has our ultimate loyalty?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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“Do You Not Care?”

In the hour of crisis

As the waves spilled into their boat, the panicky disciples awakened Jesus, fast asleep in the stern. “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38).

On another occasion, Martha was getting super-frustrated as she prepared a meal for Jesus. While Mary was hanging on Jesus’ words, Martha interrupted, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone?” (Luke 10:40).

Have you ever felt like this? How easily our perceptions can be skewed by fear or frustration!

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A better perspective

As we read the rest of the story, we see how Jesus redirected their focus away from the crisis of the moment to a greater appreciation of the One who truly does care.

Is this a lesson we too need to learn?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Prophet: Who is He?

Prediction

Moses said, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him” (Deuteronomy 18:15, emphasis added).

So who is this prophet? Whoever it is must be remarkable indeed, considering how great Moses was (Numbers 12:6-8).

The Jews of the first century were expecting this Prophet (John 1:19-21; 6:14; 7:40).

Fulfillment!

So who is he? Peter said the Prophet is Jesus (Acts 3:22—see 7:37).

As great as Moses was (Deuteronomy 34:10-12), Jesus is far greater (Hebrews 3:1-6).

Our response?

God said of this Prophet, “. . . whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in my name, I Myself will require it of him” (Deuteronomy 18:19 RSV).

“. . . listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Choice

The choice he made

What would he say that could make a difference?

What Joshua told Israel was this: “. . . choose for yourselves today whom you will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).

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The choice we make

Joshua remembered walking on dry ground as God held back the Red Sea for Israel to pass safely through, and then brought those waters crashing down on the pursuing Egyptians.

For forty years in the wilderness, God had provided.

He had promised to give them the land of Canaan, and now here they were!

“Choose whom you will serve,” Joshua pleaded. Based on long experience with the ever-faithful God, Joshua made his choice, and Israel would make theirs.

And so will we.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Why the Church?

Vertical only

Many feel no need to be a part of the church, thinking they can have a personal relationship with Christ apart from other believers.

So which is it? To be a part, or to be apart?

Vertical and horizontal

If the church is optional:

Then why did Christ love the church enough to purchase it with His own blood (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:25)?

And why is the church described as a body composed of many interconnected members, with Christ as its Head (1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23)?

And why all the “one another” references: loving one another, serving one another, bearing one another’s burdens, encouraging one another, etc. (1 Peter 1:22; 4:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:18)?

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Could the church actually be far more important than we think?

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A Story Like None Other

There are stories, and then there is THE Story!

Do you like stories? I do! Children love stories. Grownups like stories.

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Question: Is the New Testament account of Jesus fiction or nonfiction?

According to the apostle Peter, who knew Him well, Jesus is no myth (2 Peter 1:16-19).

The story of Jesus is factual and historical, but it is so much more than history!

It’s the only story powerful enough to transform us completely now and forever (1 Thessalonians 1:5-10; 2:13).

A story that can make a huge difference

For a very brief synopsis of Jesus’ story, see what Peter says in Acts 10:34-43.

Then if you find that intriguing, try the Gospel of John.

Note: By the time you finish John’s Gospel, you may be a different person (see John 20:30-31).

But isn’t that the point?

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Who, Me? Prejudiced?

Prejudice is hard to admit.

Are my friends and acquaintances almost exclusively like me?

Do I fear what others might think if I associated with someone of another race?

Do I use slang expressions for other ethnicities?

Do I think in terms of “us” vs. “them”?

How would I feel if someone of another race moved next door?

How do I feel about my children playing with those of a different skin color?

Would I accept a blood transfusion if I knew it came from someone of a different race?

Do I ever read anything by an author from another ethnic group?

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How God sees

“. .  . God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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